The studio asked student teams to propose solutions for worker housing in Da Nang, Vietnam. Vietnam, as is the case with many developing countries in Asia, is experiencing rapid economic growth, and with it, a mass migration of people from the rural areas to the urban centers. Migrants seek better paying jobs to raise the standard of living for themselves and their families. However, most jobs in the growing economy are in the industrial or service sectors, and unskilled workers will typically be initially placed in relatively low paid entry-level positions. Therefore, it is difficult for them to afford housing meeting even minimum standards for thermal comfort, sanitation, and floor area per person.
Da Nang, along with two of the other largest cities in Vietnam – Ha Noi, and Ho Chi Minh City – have been funded by the government for creation of high-tech parks. Many of the workers will likely be employed in electronics assembly, though others will work in tourist service or the garment industry. Da Nang officials estimate the population will increase from the current 1 million residents to 2 million in the next 10-15 years. The vast majority of the new residents will be rural-to-urban migrants.
This student team employed a courtyard typology typical of larger buildings in Vietnam, using a stepped terrace profile for sun access and control. A variety of unit types are provided to accommodate families or singles. Careful attention was given to orientation and ventilation to provide interior human comfort without recourse to air conditioning. Access from each unit to small gardens allows workers grow food and maintain a connection to their farming background. Multiple spaces of different scales and character are offered for social and/or commercial uses.